Center for Ocean Mapping & Innovative Technologies’

Webinar Series

dr. Leslie Sautter

Dr. Sautter presents from 12-1pm Eastern on May 25th. To join via Teams, please click here.

Building the New Ocean Survey Workforce: The BEAMS Program

Abstract: The College of Charleston founded the BEnthic Acoustic Mapping and Survey (BEAMS) Program in 2007 with the intent to train undergraduate geology majors in the post-processing skills of multibeam sonar data as a tool for conducting marine geology research. By establishing a strong academic partnership with CARIS, a leading post-processing software company, and acquiring at-sea ship time from NOAA, the program began to grow and expand. At present, over 200 students have completed the program, which includes a series of seafloor mapping and marine geology courses, numerous software training workshops, and an annual symposium. Many have gained at-sea experience through dedicated program cruises or internships, and nearly all have presented their research at a national conference. The ocean survey workforce is in dire need of qualified entry-level surveyors, and BEAMS students have 100% chance of gaining employment post-graduation. In the past 3 years, the program has expanded its coursework (led by program alumni), and now includes analyzing video of seafloor habitats as ground-truth. The program is unique, and we hope to expand it, allowing students from other institutions to take part. 

Biography: Leslie has a PhD in Geology from the Univ. of South Carolina where she studied micropaleontology. She has been teaching marine geology at the College of Charleston for 31 years and founded and directs the BEAMS Program. Her interest in seafloor mapping evolved from having taken many students out to sea on oceanographic cruises, and becoming exposed to the value of interpreting seafloor geomorphology. Her work with NOAA’s Ocean Exploration and the Univ. of Washington led to numerous submersible and ROV-dive expeditions. Though she is retiring from full-time teaching this summer, she will continue to direct and teach courses in the program.